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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical Terror
John Burnside's The Glister opens in a modern day ghost town. The chemical plant that once fused the city with life and prosperity has been closed and left to rot. Everything in the town can be described as dead and deformed. The town's adults are apathetic, depressed and diseased. The children are violent, promiscuous, and haunted. But no one ever leaves the town,...
Published on March 10, 2009 by Amazon Customer

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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great character studies, Terrible plot
Much like previous reviewers, I found the premise of this novel intriguing. Disappearing children, mutated animals, a crooked run-down town's cover-up. Reading the book flap makes this novel out to be a dark, twisted tale. In the traditional sense, this is not the case. The story portrayed on the book flap never really occurs. The flap jacket paints a story of a group of...
Published on March 19, 2009 by B. Calhoun


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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical Terror, March 10, 2009
By 
Amazon Customer (CA, United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Glister: A Novel (Hardcover)
John Burnside's The Glister opens in a modern day ghost town. The chemical plant that once fused the city with life and prosperity has been closed and left to rot. Everything in the town can be described as dead and deformed. The town's adults are apathetic, depressed and diseased. The children are violent, promiscuous, and haunted. But no one ever leaves the town, unless of course, they disappear.

This book is not a typical horror or mystery novel. It's more of a very long dark fable complete with an abstract ending and an obscure moral. This is not an easy read; it can best be described as uncomfortable and difficult. Burnside manages to infuse every aspect of his tales with menace, down to the last comma. There is sex, violence and adult language--the majority of it committed by young adults. It's also the kind of book that may torment it's readers for months. If there is a more terrifying or disturbing novel out there, I have yet to read it. I'd warn anyone considering the novel that it is scary and edgy. You may not like it, but you should definitely read it.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great character studies, Terrible plot, March 19, 2009
By 
B. Calhoun (Anaconda, MT USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Glister: A Novel (Hardcover)
Much like previous reviewers, I found the premise of this novel intriguing. Disappearing children, mutated animals, a crooked run-down town's cover-up. Reading the book flap makes this novel out to be a dark, twisted tale. In the traditional sense, this is not the case. The story portrayed on the book flap never really occurs. The flap jacket paints a story of a group of kids on a quest for answers to the dark town secret. In reality, this entire premise consists of one major scene that involves a stereotypical, unoriginal belief one kid has formulated.

When looked at as a character study, this book is a winner. The characters are well fleshed out and Burnside does a fine job of getting the reader to fall quickly into the stories of these characters.

The writing that accompanies these characters is superb. As others have stated, the entire book is taut with a dark, lingering air of horror throughout the book. That is why the last 30 pages are such a major disappointment. The climax and ultimate unveiling of the mystery is thin, lazy, and rushed.

Ultimately Burnside should have put these characters in a setting he could handle or wrap up this premise with a decent ending. I feel cheated after taking the time to read this book, albeit slim, only to come up with a pathetic ending.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It Shines but not Shimmers, March 10, 2009
This review is from: The Glister: A Novel (Hardcover)
The town and the people of Innertown have never been the same since George Lister's chemical plant shut down, especially the woods. There is something evil in the woods. Every year a boy or two disappears, never to be seen or heard from again. The police won't do anything about the disappearances as there is no sign of foul play. There are a few people who believe otherwise and they are town policeman, John Morrison in addition to Leonard and his friends. It seems that Morrison knows there is evil hiding in the woods but he just like the rest of the authorities will not do anything about it. So it is up to Leonard and his friends to fight the darkness, before it claims the rest of them.

Having never read any of author, John Burnside's other previous works to go off of what type of author Mr. Burnside is; I thought The Glister was a hauntingly dark and gruesome piece of work. That is a good thing. It drew the reader in and enveloped them in Evil. I couldn't stop reading. The Glister is like riding a horrifying roller-coaster ride that you can't get abandon till the end, so all you have left to do is just hold on tight and enjoy the ride. I like that horror fans as well as anyone looking for a good scary will enjoy The Glister. This is one book you will want to get your hands on as soon as possible. You won't regret it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking, challenging and original conclusion-without-a-conclusion awaits, March 25, 2009
By 
Bookreporter (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Glister: A Novel (Hardcover)
Past a small dreary town, through a poisoned wood, there sits the ruins of a chemical factory. The factory was once the heart and purpose of the town, but it is shut down now, abandoned and decaying. The people are sick and, without options, stay there to die mysterious and painful deaths. But for the teenage boys of Innertown, the most immediate threat is random, unseen and almost unacknowledged.

In THE GLISTER by John Burnside, teenage boys disappear --- not very often and not very many, but enough to convince 15-year-old Leonard that he is not at all safe in his hometown. Like his fellow teenagers charged with caring for dying parents, he dreams of leaving Innertown but isn't sure how to do so. He escapes instead through the meager literary offerings in the library, sex with his emotionally distant girlfriend and contemplative time at the old chemical plant. His mother is gone, his father mute and damaged, and the other adults around him unable to protect him from the violence and illness that is killing Innertown.

Burnside's tale is beautiful and menacing, toxic and alluring, like the empty and sinister chemical plant that has poisoned Innertown. Though told from the perspective of several characters, this is really Leonard's book --- at once a coming-of-age tale, a murder mystery, a horror story and an apocalyptic warning about industry and responsibility. Leonard is a tender and an innocent young man, though guilty of many trespasses, and he embodies the complexities, fears, anxiety and desperation of Innertown.

When Leonard finds himself in the heart of the chemical plant, with a stranger he thought was his friend, he comes face to face with the evil that the plant has manifested --- the Glister. In a frightening and lyrical ending, readers must decide for themselves what the Glister actually is and what is really haunting the woods and the chemical plant.

THE GLISTER is a short book, but there is much to enjoy, recoil from and decipher in its pages. Burnside's command of language is obvious, lending a poetic quality to this scary novel. Like a post-modern fairy tale, it explores life and death and the end of childhood as well as bigger ideas about society, greed and apathy.

Burnside's latest is ambiguous, and that may not satisfy all readers. Leonard confronts all degrees of evil, and before he, and readers, can come to any conclusions, the narration changes gears, delivering an unforgettable ending. For those willing to follow Burnside to the shadowy and uncertain world of Innertown, a thought-provoking, challenging and original conclusion-without-a-conclusion awaits.

--- Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Left wanting more, August 25, 2009
This review is from: The Glister: A Novel (Hardcover)
If I hadn't known before I started The Glister that author John Burnside was also a poet, I could likely have guessed it by the end of the first page. Throughout this very creepy novel, the language elevated it from prose to quite nearly poetry.

Initially appearing to be a novel about missing children in a post-industrial town, The Glister quickly becomes a metaphor for a dead-end life. The teenage narrator, Leonard speaks candidly about his choices, desires and decisions, and just as candidly about the things he has no control over - his parents, the state of the dying town and the corruption he knows exists among the few adults with anything like power and success in Outertown.

While I didn't expect this book to be a genre-typical "thriller" or "horror" novel, the premise did lead me to expect that by the end a mystery would be solved - namely the fate of the missing boys. However, while there is a denouement, and a retribution of sorts, the metaphysical turn that the book took in the last few pages left me somewhat confused, and as a result vaguely edgy - which I liked - and not quite as satisfied as I wanted - which I didn't like.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful language but..., March 13, 2010
This review is from: The Glister (Paperback)
I started out loving this book. It was wonderfully written and the language is quite delightful in places. It's creepy and dark and managed to evoke this fictional place that feels all too real. I was really excited about the reading of it. And then... well, there's a lot of fat in the middle of the book that didn't really seem to add to the story. More brutality (not for the faint-hearted) and an ending that... well, it just felt a little bizarre and certainly didn't work for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but certainly not great, March 11, 2010
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This review is from: The Glister (Paperback)
Although I enjoyed this book a lot, I felt like it lost its way toward the end. I was disappointed because I did feel like it could have been so much more. Nevertheless, the writer is certainly very gifted.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing, February 13, 2010
By 
Gea (Key Largo, FL, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Glister (Paperback)
Mesmerizing, beautiful, sad and hopeful. This is a deeply spiritual and haunting book. I can't stop thinking about it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Suspenseful, dream-like, page-turning, bizarre., July 10, 2009
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I'm returning to review this book after having finished it six weeks ago. Even after so long, it resonates. The book has a harsh reality-driven feel to it in places, a cop-show feel that gives it sort of a television mini-series pulse, but thematically it is dreamy and melancholy. Dodging amongst the almost savage depictions of hopelessness and decay, the surreal components of the story positively glow. Fantastic. This is not a book to read for plot so much as to read for theme, and language, and mood.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Glister, April 21, 2009
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This review is from: The Glister: A Novel (Hardcover)
This book kept my interest throughout. It left me with a lot of questions though. All in all it was a good read.
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The Glister
The Glister by John Burnside (Paperback - February 9, 2010)
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